by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Environmental groups and House Democrats urged the Supreme Court not to disturb a lower court order blocking the reallocation of military funds for border wall projects.
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to put that ruling on hold while litigation continues July 12. Granting that request — called a stay — would give the government an irreversible victory, a coalition of environmentalists led by the Sierra Club warned.
“If a stay is granted and wall construction begins, there will be no turning back,” the green groups told the justices in court papers.
U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam barred the administration from using $2.5 billion in military funds for border wall construction. The trial court’s injunctions stalled border barrier construction projects in Arizona and New Mexico.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the administration’s request to stay Gilliam’s ruling while litigation continued by a 2-1 vote July 3. The government filed a stay application with the Supreme Court on July 12.
Stays are supposed to preserve the status quo among litigants while a lawsuit proceeds through court. If the justices grant the administration’s request, the government can begin construction on several border wall projects the courts may never be able to undo. That is exactly the sort of outcome stays mean to prevent, the Sierra Club said. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represents the Sierra Club before the high court.